This is dedicated to my dearest friend Katraa. She is amazing and likes pianos and sugar cookies. She is also obsessed with RikuSora…Like every sane girl should be. I hope you enjoy this little story I have constructed. It turned out a lot darker than I had planned. O.o It's rather heart wrenching…and may possibly be the best thing I've ever written.
Pianos and Sugar Cookies
In small towns, whispered secrets echo.
A 17-year-old boy named Sora sat in the backseat of his father's SUV. In the front sat his father at the wheel and twin brother, Roxas, with his Nintendo DS. Sora felt like a child with his nose pressed against the window, starring at every tree that passed. His iPod blasted techno as his mind wandered. In less than two hours he would arrive at the town he was to call home.
Snowflakes whipped around the family's vehicle as they traveled through mountains and valleys. Sora's blue eyes could no longer see the scenery, instead, his eyes widened at the frozen wasteland.
Minutes passed. No one spoke. There was nothing to say. The family was driving away from their problems. Everyone knew it. No need to say it.
Sora noticed a sign welcoming the family to Westerton, Idaho. He wanted to burn the sign to the ground.
The car pulled up to a small white house with a picket fence. It was one of those houses every little girl dreams to have. A large yard wrapped around the fence and mountains rolled in the distance.
The snow made Sora's brown hair appear white in the short time it took for him to reach the door. His father fiddled in his pockets for keys while balancing a box on his knee. The door opened to reveal a quaint foyer with a wooden staircase. Sora didn't wait for Roxas. He walked up the stairs and chose the first room on the right. He threw his backpack to the floor and collapsed on the naked bed. Tears exploded from his eyes as he gasped for air. His father entered the room without notice.
"Sora, you can talk to me about it, if you want," his father said as he took a seat next to his devastated son.
Sora rolled over and blinked at his father. "I know I can. I just can't. I can't talk to anyone."
His father nodded and rose from the bed. "I understand. Just know Roxas and I are going through the same thing. We're here for you."
"Thanks, dad," Sora said. He held his tears until his father exited the room, and then let all his emotions pour through his eyes.
Roxas put the car in park and poked his twin brother. Sora's eyes shown hatred toward Roxas' gesture. "I was just waking you up. We're here," the blond said as he exited the car.
Sora nodded and did the same. He raised his head and looked upon his new high school. The building was small and made of brick. The walls only held two stories. "This place…why did she want us to come here?"
Roxas grabbed his brother's arm, willing him to move, "Who knows? We're going to be late."
Once inside the building known as Wester High, the boys spent no time finding the office and even less time navigating their way to their first classes. Roxas had AP physics while Sora had AP English 12.
Sora never made it to English that day.
He intended on going to class. The hallways weren't confusing, but as he walked passed an open door Sora's mind moved from navigating to English to deciphering the sweet sound that hit his ears. A delicate song moved its way from the open door to Sora's mind. Back at home, he never had the opportunity to enjoy the finer things in life. He was always too busy with debate team, academic challenge, his parents' business and hectic social lives. The sound of classical music brought back memories of a simpler time.
Instead of passing the room and starting his first day of school, he entered the room. The room was completely empty except for a few chairs, a chalkboard and a baby grand piano. Sora stood by the door in a trance.
At the piano sat a man that looked much older than Sora, but was only 18. He wore only a pair of jeans and a black tank top despite the frigid temperatures. His silver hair reflected the snow that was beating against the classroom's many windows. Sora couldn't tell the color of the man's eyes. They were closed as his fingers raced up and down the piano's tracks.
The music they produced had Sora in a trance. He didn't move from his spot. He didn't sit. He stood and starred at the man. The song was lost in his memories of a smiling woman playing the clarinet for her two children. Smiles and laughter filled Sora's insides and he felt so warm. Each keystroke brought something pleasant to Sora's being. It had been too long since the boy had felt anything besides pain and suffering.
Sora couldn't tell how long he had been standing at the door. He couldn't tell if he was actually standing. The song played on. A smile was forming inside Sora, trying to find its way to his lips. Just as his mouth began to curl, the music stopped.
"You can sit down. I don't mind," the man said.
At once, Sora came crashing down to reality and the smile ran far away into the caverns of yesterday. Sora opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out. Instead he took a seat only feet away from the musician.
"I play in here every day first period. Practicing for Julliard. This one I wrote myself. Let me know what you think."
Sora nodded. He couldn't understand why the man sitting in front of him hadn't asked who he was or why he wasn't in class. Surely, in a town this small, everyone knew each other. Without a doubt, the man at the piano knew.
Regardless, the man played on, and Sora was again whisked away. It was amazing how well the young man could play. Sora couldn't believe anyone could compose such a perfectly harmonic melody. The song ended quickly and the man smiled at Sora.
"It's a work in progress," he said as he stood from the piano. Sora grew nervous as the musician grew nearer. He reached out a hand, "My name's Riku."
Sora's eyes widened. This was the part where he was supposed to tell Riku his name. He was supposed to tell Riku that his playing had been the first thing to make him feel like smiling in over a year. He was supposed to do a lot of things, but instead, Sora ran.
He ran into the hallway just as the bell signaling the end of first period rang. He ran threw the halls. He knew he looked insane, and maybe he was, but he didn't care. Room 132 came into focus. He sat down in his chair and pretended the last 40 minutes hadn't existed.
But every time Sora zoned out, he could here music. He could hear Riku's music.
"They're going to think you're crazy if you storm around the halls like that," Sora's father said as he placed a plate in front of his son.
Sora stabbed his mashed potatoes, realizing the action would have no result. "I am crazy."
"You're not crazy. You're dealing," his father corrected.
"Really? Fucking really?" Sora felt anger. He felt it boiling under his skin. "Running off the moment someone says hi to me is fucking dealing?"
Roxas reached over and smacked his brother against the head. "You know better than to take this out on dad. He didn't do anything wrong."
Sora stood with rage, pushing the hardwood table to its side sending their dinner to the ground. "Fuck you." He glared at Roxas and then turned his attention to his father. "And yes, Dad did do something wrong. He fucking brought us to this hell hole," Sora snarled through his teeth.
He walked out of the room and sat on the stairs. He made sure no one noticed he hadn't gone up them and sat quietly, waiting to hear what Roxas and father would say about him.
Roxas and his father began to pick up the pieces of dinner.
"You know Sora's not crazy, right?" the father said.
"Yeah, I know. Everyone heals in different ways," Roxas sighed as he picked up a broken plate. Sure, it was just a piece of ceramic, but this particular ceramic held a few memories. He took the piece and put it on the counter. He would clean it off and put it in a special place. He couldn't say goodbye just yet.
"He's going to be okay," his father was busy scrubbing the floor. "This is a lot different than New York City. A different realm."
"Dad, I know," Roxas said.
The older man nodded. "Yes. You do. You're okay. One day Sora will be, too."
By this time, Sora had lost interest. His father was too optimistic for anyone's good. He left his post at the stairs and retired to his room.
Roxas shook his head as he propped the table back on all fours. He waved at his father and walked into the bathroom. Did his father really think Roxas could be okay? The hell that had been the last 12 months would take years to fix, and it could never be erased. Just because his father couldn't see the pain, Roxas knew it was there. He knew he was just as crazy as Sora.
He pulled his shirt over his head and threw it on the floor. HIs reflection in the mirror reminded Roxas just how crazy he actually was.
Sora opened his eyes the next morning actually wanting to be awake. The sun shown through his parted curtains, telling the boy that it was time to get dressed. He wanted to get to class as early as possible.
Even though Sora had cursed at his father the night before about how much he hated his new home, there were a few good things. He was actually happy the morning before while he listened to Riku, and now, he actually wanted to leave his room.
A brief goodbye to his twin and Sora disappeared into the halls. He made sure to get lost in the sea of adolescents. He didn't want Roxas following him. His steps grew slower as the students found their respective classes. A few smiled at Sora. A few laughed at Sora. Other pointed or looked away quickly. He didn't care. He had somewhere to be.
The bell rang. Soon a hall monitor would be wandering the halls. Sora's pace quickened until he heard it. He heard the sound that had taken away the pain. He knew Riku probably thought Sora was insane. He knew Riku probably had heard the rumors. None of that mattered; all Sora wanted was to be happy. Riku's music made him happy.
Sora let his ears guide him to the room. He opened the door, trying not to disturb the musician. Riku automatically noticed the opened passageway. Sora contemplated running away again, but Riku stopped playing. He got up from the piano and walked to Sora.
"I've heard a lot about you. I don't care if any of it's true," Sora was hesitant to believe the beautiful man, but then he saw Riku's eyes for the first time. He lost himself for a second in a sea of aquamarine. Sora knew instantly Riku would never lie to him. "If you like my music, please, stay. Listen. You don't have to say anything. I understand."
Riku went back to the piano and began to play. Sora's eyes filled with tears. He didn't know why he was crying. He was happy. Not only did he have music, sweet and beautiful music, but he had someone. Someone who wouldn't judge him. Someone who just wanted him to listen. Sora could do that. He could listen.
"I need my first period to be a study hall," Sora said to his father.
"I can't let you drop AP English. It's your best subject," Sora's father passed him a dish.
The boy took the dish and dried it before placing it in a shelf. "I will be good at English no matter if I'm in advanced or regular." Sora placed a hand on his father's shoulder, turning the man so that their eyes could meet. "Dad, I need my first period to be a study hall. Tell them to switch my classes around. Please."
Sora's father took a second to study his son. He didn't understand what was so important about having a study hall first period. But he could sense in his son that whatever the reason Sora had for wanting the study hall was important. Sora's eye longed for that first period to be open. His father couldn't deny his son of that which was important, not anymore.
"I'll call the school in the morning," he said.
"Thank you," Sora smiled. His father saw the smile. The first smile in months.
Sora rushed Roxas out of the house 20 minutes early. He wanted to get to school before first period. He wanted as much time as he could possibly get in the room with the piano.
The glares grew that day. He could sense their eyes burning into his neck and back. He never understood why people always were concerned with that which had nothing to do with them. They didn't matter to him, so why should he matter to them?
The door was already open to his room. The brunet walked in and closed the door behind him. He didn't want anyone to hear what was going on inside the room. He wanted to keep it all to himself.
Riku was already in the room. He had his back to the door and was sifting through music sheets that lay on the ground. Satisfied with the piece in hand he turned to see Sora standing close to him.
"Well, hello there," Riku said with a smile. A smile that could make someone on death row feel warm inside.
Sora paused. He came here early for a reason. He was on a mission. It took everything inside of Sora to gain the strength to open his mouth and say: "My…my name is Sora." His face grew beat red. He was trembling, shaking and about to cry. Words were hard for Sora, harder than you and I could ever understand.
"Nice to meet you, Sora," Riku motioned Sora to sit beside him on a folding chair.
Sora took the invitation. His breathing became normal again. "I'm sorry. I…I…"
"It's okay," Riku patted Sora's shoulder. Normally, Sora would have screamed. He would have ran, but Riku's touch was different. It was comforting. "I told you that you didn't have to say anything."
"I want to," Sora shook Riku's hand from his shoulder. He took a deep breath and spoke slowly. Trying to hold back his tears. "I haven't spoken to anyone besides my dad and Roxas since---" The tears rolled down his face. He was on the verge of falling. Falling off the chair, falling out of the school, falling out of reality.
Riku caught him. He took the brunet into his arms and held him tightly. "I know it's not okay. I know it may never be."
Riku was the first person to tell Sora the truth. Sora was not okay. Sora would never be okay. Sora let the past 12 months of emotions fall into Riku's arms.
About 10 minutes later, Sora had regained enough composure to speak.
"It wasn't my fault. She…she wanted it. I wanted to help her," Sora said quietly, almost a whisper.
The musician hardly knew Sora on a personal level, but everyone knew him. Sora was the twin son of the DiNovi's-the famous couple that had the hardest working law firm in New York City. Everyone knew. Everyone. Still, Riku wanted to really know Sora. He wanted to comfort him.
"I would have done the same," Riku said. It was the truth.
Sora's eyes got a shade brighter at Riku's statement. "I loved her more than anything. I wouldn't do anything she didn't want."
Riku hugged the boy again. "Want me to play you something? I picked out a song just for you."
Sora smiled and nodded. Riku was beginning to love the brunet's smile.
Within minutes Sora's pain faded into a distant memory.
Sora knocked on Roxas' door, "Can I come in?"
"Of course," Roxas responded. Sure, he has his problems with Sora and Sora with him, but Sora was his brother. His only brother.
The brunet walked across the room and sat on his brother's bed, "I talked to him today."
"Really?" Roxas' eyes lit up. "You're not lying to me, are you?"
"I would never lie to you," Sora stuck his tongue out at Roxas.
"So, how was it?" Roxas wanted to know everything, but he knew Sora hated being asked questions. He knew if he gave his twin enough time, he would tell him everything.
"It as amazing. He is amazing," Sora said.
Roxas wrapped his arms around Sora, "I'm so happy for you."
In a few seconds the embrace was over and Sora's face grew stern. "You need to stop," Sora said without emotion.
"I want to," Roxas said. "I think I can, now."
"What makes now any different from the last time you said you wanted to stop?"
Roxas had his own way of "dealing" with the past. Sora didn't talk and Roxas didn't feel. He didn't feel anything. He didn't feel anger, love, hate, lust, happy, sad, cold, warmth; he felt nothing. The only thing he could feel was pain. And he made it so her could feel that pain whenever he wanted.
"I found someone, too," Roxas smiled. "His name is Axel."
The weekend was rather uneventful. Sora spent his days writing. He wrote all the time. Even though Sora refused to speak, his hands worked magic at producing novel after novel. At the age of 17 he had completed 10 full-length books. Three of which had been published.
Monday and Tuesday were productive. Sora had talked to Riku about school and Riku's plans after graduation. He wanted to go to Julliard and compose music for a living. Riku had lived in Westerton all his life. Sora loved listening to Riku speak. Less time was spent playing and more talking.
Sora missed Riku's playing. Thursday morning couldn't arrive any faster. He missed having the pleasure of seeing Riku and hearing his music. He had devised a script or sorts. He was ready to tell Riku. Even if Riku knew his past, Sora wanted to tell him. He needed to tell him. He needed to tell someone.
Sora arrived at the room 20 minutes before class was to start. He could hear the music. As he opened the door Riku stopped playing.
"Please, play a few more minutes," Sora pleaded. "We can talk after."
"I've been here for 30 minutes. I wanted to give us time," Riku explained.
"Just a few minutes…Please?" Sora pouted.
"Anything for you," Riku sat back on his bench and his eyes closed. His head moved back and the room erupted.
Usually, Riku played something classical and soothing, but today he played something almost erotic. The melody was different. It was incising. It was fresh and different.
It didn't matter what Riku played; his music was intoxicating. It was a drug that Sora had needed to survive. He lived for first period. He lived for this. He was brought back to freshman year when he completed his first novel. His mom was so proud. She used money from a case to get it published. The story was about a girl whose family died in a plane crash. It was poetically tragic. And a bestseller within weeks. Sora had been a prodigy. Had been…
Ten minutes later, the music ended. Sora was almost as excited to talk to Riku as he was to hear his music.
"You play beautifully," Sora said.
"You write beautifully," Riku motioned Sora to sit beside him on his bench. Sora complied.
"You've read my work?"
"Yes. Who hasn't?" There it was again. That smile. That damn perfect smile that melted Sora's insides.
"You wouldn't have ever read it if it wasn't for her."
"Tell me about her," Riku didn't care if Sora actually said anything after that point. He wasn't counting on it. He knew he had to be careful with Sora or he would break. All Riku wanted was to let Sora know that someone out there was on his side.
"She was perfect. Beautiful. Amazing. She deserved none of what came to her," surprisingly, Sora wasn't crying.
"No one deserves cancer. Not even the worst of the murderers deserves that pain," Riku put an arm around the boy.
"Especially not my mom…" Sora sniffled. He wasn't going to breakdown, just cry a bit. The tears were refreshing. "All she did was help those who didn't have anyone. She poured her heart and soul into her work. She helped so many people." Sora noticed Riku not understanding what he was talking about. "Our law firm was built to help those without money be represented in the state of New York. It was hard on us, but to see those who had no homes, no family, smile at the end of the day was worth it to her."
Riku nodded in understanding. Sora continued.
"The cancer. It came without warning. I guess it usually does….13 months ago. Roxas and I came home from school. I remember her telling us she would die in less than six months…I remember crying.
"She was bad. Really bad. The chemo wasn't helping. Her face…I could see the pain in it. Seven months ago I went into the hospital. She was yelling at her doctor—she was telling him to make the pain stop. She deserved none of it. She brought Dad and Roxas and I into the room. She told them she helped as many people as she could and loved us dearly. She told us to be strong…" Sora's voice cracked. His eyes filled with tears.
"You don't have to—"
"Yes, I do…" Sora nuzzled his head onto Riku's chest. "She said her life was perfect. She told us she wouldn't have changed anything. She told Roxas to grow up and be an actor. To never let go of his dream. She told me that I have the gift of words and to use it wise and sparingly. She told my dad…she told him to take us far away. She told him to take us here, to Westerton. She said it's beautiful in the winter. She was so right…
"Roxas and I left the room. We waited in the hall. Dad took 30 minutes saying goodbye. We were going to leave, but I wanted to see her, just one more time.
"I walked into the room. She was crying. She told me the pain was too much. She wanted it to be gone. She said the doctor's couldn't make it go away. She looked me in the eye and told me—told me to make it stop. I asked her what she meant, and she pointed to a cord plugged into a machine.
"I understood what she meant. She motioned me to come close to her. She held me to her chest and sang lightly in my ear. 'You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray. You'll never know dear, how much I love you. Please don't take my sunshine away.' When it's quiet I can still hear her voice…
"I cried. I have never in life cried so much. She wasn't well, Riku. She was in so much pain. She asked me to do it. She told me no one who mattered who judge me. She took my hand and said that it was what she wanted. She said if I couldn't, it would be ok. She said Dad couldn't and Roxas couldn't. She would understand. Everyone always understands… I didn't want to let her down. I didn't want her to hurt. I wanted to make my mom happy.
Sora choked. His voice was barely audible among the sobs. "I did it, Riku. I killed her. I killed my mom."
Riku held the boy closer to his body than he had ever held anyone in all his life. Sora convulsed. His body was cold.
"Everyone yelled at me. They didn't understand. She wanted me to! She was dying. No one should have to live with that. The court hearings…everything. The cameras flashing. My face on tabloids…Everyone knew. They still know. My own dad said I was insane. He said it was the only way I would not end up in jail. I'm not crazy! I'm not fucking insane. I was fucking 16. She told me she wanted it. I just was doing as I was asked. I'm not crazy…not crazy…"
Sora rocked back and forth in Riku's arms. The story that had burnt a hole in his being was finally out in the open. After his mother's death, Sora didn't speak except to his dad and Roxas. He didn't stick up to the judge or the jury or his lawyer. All he could remember was his mother saying to use his words wisely and sparingly. So he did just that.
"Sora…" Riku finally spoke. "Sora, you may be crazy, but you're not anymore crazy than anyone else."
Sora looked up, shocked. Riku had a way with words. Sometimes Sora wondered if Riku was really an author. Then, Sora laughed. "I guess…I am crazy."
"There you go," Riku smiled. "Be insane. Be crazy. At least you're not normal."
Sora gazed into Riku's eyes. He saw compassion. He saw comfort. Riku moved his head inches from Sora's. There was a moment of silence. Sora could hear the wind blow the snow against the glass. The brunet's mind clouded. The most beautiful human being in all of creation sat approximately six inches from him. He wanted nothing more than to be here forever.
Sora closed his eyes and moved cautiously toward Riku. Each inch grew harder to cross until his lips crashed into Riku's.
The older man's eyes widened but then closed. One of Riku's arms moved form Sora's lower back to the boy's soft, chestnut hair. He parted his lips and left Sora's tongue move over his own.
Sora's body pushed against Riku's. His breaths were sparse and heart had stopped. Riku's body offered everything Sora had been looking for, and his mouth promised Sora that Riku was real. That this kiss, this moment, was actually happening.
And then the door opened. In stepped Riku's piano instructor.
"Riku Araki? What is going on here?" the woman said in a stern voice.
Sora froze, still attached to Riku's lips. His brain comprehended the current situation. He was alone with a gorgeous man in a school where everyone thought he was mentally unstable. Not only was he alone with Riku, he was kissing Riku.
Sora did what he knew how to do best. He picked himself up from the bench and ran. He ran back down the halls and out the front door. He ran the four miles to his house.
He ran out of Riku's life.
"You've really done it this time," father said as he sat across from his sons on a loveseat. "I got a call from the principal. She said you were making out with some boy first period."
Sora looked at Roxas. Roxas' eyes shown Sora the same worry that ran throughout the brunet's thin, frail body. Sora turned to face his father. He couldn't think or anything wise to say. So he sat in silence.
"Is that what you wanted first period for? Is that why you gave up on AP English? To make out with some boy?" Sora's father's voice had grown in volume to encompass the entire room. "You made me call in so you could make out. You gave up on English for a fucking boy. You really are crazy."
Still unable to speak, Sora cried. He had become a pro at letting the salty tears fall from his eyes. He never trie dto hide it anymore. He just let the tears run their course.
"So, you have nothing to say?" Sora's father rose. He studied his son before walking to the entrance of the living room. "Pack your things. We're leaving. This was a mistake."
Roxas looked at his father and glanced at Sora. He looked devastated. The family had been through a lot. More than any family should have to endure, and even Roxas knew when enough was enough.
"No," Roxas said. "This was anything beside a mistake."
"Are you trying to tell your father no?" His father walked to Roxas and pulled him from the couch. He held the boys arm in his hand. "Watch your mouth boy."
"No. I will not," Roxas grabbed his father's arm and threw it to the side. "Do you really know that little? You think I'm okay, and you don't see my scars? You think Sora is crazy, and you don't see his progress." Roxas gestured to Sora, "He's talking, Dad. He's fuckingspeaking again. Isn't that enough of a reason to stay?"
His father didn't say anything. He turned his back on his family and began to talk away.
"Dad, please!" Roxas' voice grew hoarse from the screaming. "Stay! For mom, if no one else. She wanted us to be here. Please…"
The older man knew his son was right. Her last dying wish was for the family to be here. He looked to the heavens. He would give anything to hear her voice one more time. For months had pretended to be okay. He had held strong for his children. Now he could see that no matter how strong he was, he could not stop their suffering by himself.
The father fell to his knees in the middle of the living room. He closed his eyes and all he could see was his wife's beautiful face. She was smiling. He missed her smile. He missed her. And for the first time in weeks, the man cried.
Even though he had threatened to rip the boys away from their new home, even if he did say mean and nasty things, the man was still their father. Both boys got up from the couch and threw their arms around their broken father. The three sat on the floor for what seemed like hours.
Sora looked up from his dad and met Roxas' eyes. He mouthed two words: "Thank you."
The next morning was better than any other. Sora knew he would face ridicule, but he didn't care. All that matter was see Riku. He woke up early and put time into his outfit and hair. That day, Roxas picked up Axel. Sora silently approved of him and nodded at his brother.
Everything was getting better. Roxas was smiling. Sora was talking. Their father had cried.
Sora raced the halls in search of his destination. The door was closed. Sora's hands flung to the doorknob and twisted.
It wouldn't move. The door stood as it was, closed.
Sora slumped in front of the door. Riku must be running late due to the blizzard. Sora opened a notebook and began scribbling words to his next novel inside. The music had been more than a healing tool, but a muse. Sora lost himself in a trance of words. Pages filled.
Then she showed up. The teacher than had broken their kiss.
"Sora," she knelt before the boy. "He's not coming today. He said he didn't—"
Those words were enough for Sora to understand. He stood and walked, not ran, away. He could here the teacher saying something to the boy as he walked away, but it wasn't important. Sora knew what she was saying. Riku didn't want Sora around anymore. It was a mistake. A horrid mistake.
Roxas walked Axel to the living room He placed his arms on Axel's neck. "Thank you for coming."
"Thank you for having me," Axel answered. He smirked and placed a chaste kiss on his boyfriend's lips before letting go of the boy and sitting on the couch. "Is Sora all right?"
In the background, everyone could hear Sora. They could hear his sobs reign throughout the house.
Roxas shook his head. "No. He's been in his room, crying, or completely silent since yesterday." Axel rose from the couch and walked to the door. He grabbed his coat and put it on. "Axel? Axel… What are you doing?"
"Your brother needs you," Axel answered.
"He won't talk to me. He just tells me to leave," Roxas pulled on his boyfriend's arm. "Please stay."
Axel shook his head, "No, go upstairs. Sit in his room. Don't ask questions. Just listen."
Roxas nodded. He understood. He kissed his boyfriend goodbye and walked up the stairs. He hesitantly opened the door to Sora's room. Sora lay on the bed, buried in blankets.
Roxas didn't say a word. He lay on the bed beside his brother. The 17 years known as Sora's life had been too hard on the boy. Roxas put an arm around the quivering boy. He held him close.
He didn't say a word. He just listened.
The sobs eventually lessened. Sora's head appeared from under the covers.
"Roxas?…How long have you been here?" Sora's words were jumbled and rigid.
"Long enough," Roxas stroked his brother's hair.
"I…I…I thought…I thought he wanted…" Sora's eyes were a glassy blue.
"Shh…" Roxas said. "You don't have to say anything. Maybe words aren't important right now."
Sora managed a smile.
Roxas convinced Sora to get out of bed. He pulled his brother into the car and pushed him down the hall. There stood the door that had been locked the day before.
"Just open the door," Roxas said.
Sora nodded. His hand shook as he grabbed the knob. The door opened. A grin found its way to Sora's face and he was lost to the room with the piano.
Inside, he heard Riku's music. It wasn't as loud as normal. The sound didn't fill the room. There was a strange emptiness to Riku's melody.
Sora closed the space between himself and the man. The man that had brought so much joy to his life. He sat beside Riku.
Riku ceased playing. "I didn't think you would come." He turned his head and looked at the boy. "You ran away Thursday. Mrs. Thompson said walked away from her Friday. She said they called your dad. I thought you were gone."
Sora shook his head. "I'm still here…Riku, why didn't you want to see me Friday?" He turned his head. He didn't want to hear the next string of syllables.
"I wanted to see you. I couldn't," Riku's hand cupped Sora's soft cheek. "Sora, I was in New York, auditing for Julliard. I wanted to tell you Thursday, but you ran away. Mrs. Thompson wanted to meet you and offer you a ticket to watch me perform."
"…" Sora was at a loss for words. "You wanted me to go with you?"
"Of course," Riku ruffled Sora's brown locks of hair. "Why wouldn't I want my dear friend, Sora, who loves my music at my audition?"
Friend…the word played over in Sora's mind. He was a friend. Just a friend. Riku noticed Sora's lack of words. He didn't want there to be silence between the two. Ever.
"Want to hear my audition piece? It got me into Julliard." Riku offered.
Sora nodded and hugged Riku, "I'm so happy for you. Thank you for being my friend. I'm sorry for Friday. I didn't mean for it to happen. I was just…caught up in the music. We're still friends, right?!" Sora's words were frantic and rushed.
"Calm down," Riku chuckled. "It's ok, really. And of course we're still friends." Thin, long fingers began to work their magic along the keys.
Sora needed the music, now, more than ever.
Sora knocked on his brother's door and entered without permission. He knew it would be fine. "How are you?"
Roxas looked up for his laptop. He motioned Sora to his bed and closed the notebook. "Better, not perfect, but better."
"Can I see?" Sora asked in a small voice. He knew his brother had sensitive spots.
The blond lifted his shirt. The cuts were becoming scars. The scars would last forever, but in time, they would be only memories. "What about you?"
"I answered three questions in class today," Sora was proud of his accomplishment.
The blond hugged his brother, "Things are getting better, finally."
Sora shook his head and pulled away, "Roxas…he said I was his friend."
"That's good, right?"
"I guess," Sora picked up a pillow and hugged it. He resembled a child. It made Roxas laugh.
"What's wrong with being friends?" Roxas wondered out loud. "Isn't that what you wanted?"
"I…I think I like him as more than just friends," Sora finally admitted out loud and to himself.
Roxas nodded. He knew before Sora had that, through Sora's eyes, Riku was more than just a friend. He reached to the nightstand beside his bed and opened the drawer. After a few minutes he pulled out a box. His hands pushed around small remembrances of a life that was now over. He smiled at the piece of plate and moved it to the side. Finally, he found a piece of paper.
Roxas took his brothers hands away from the comforting pillow. He placed the folded paper into Sora's hands.
Sora opened the small scrap paper and instantly glowed from the words written upon it. He tackled him brother, "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! It's perfect!"
In Sora's hands he carried a small Tupperware container. He opened the door and entered the room. There was no turning back. This is what he wanted.
A face-paced song hit Sora's ears and the site of Riku evaded his vision. He didn't want to interrupt and sat quietly on a folding chair. He waited for the song to finish. Hands clutched the box. Its contents meant everything.
The song ended.
"That was beautiful," Sora smiled.
"Thank you," Riku stood. He pulled a hoodie over his head. Sora gasped as the man's muscles rippled at the action. The man sat next to Sora. "So, what's in the box?"
Sora smiled and opened the box. Inside sat 12 cookies. Their sweet smell filled the room with sugar.
"Cookies?" Riku chuckled.
"My mom's sugar cookies," Sora corrected. He handed Riku a cookie and took a bite of one himself. "The day my mother told us, she baked us these cookies. She said anything that's worth discussing should be said over sugar cookies."
Riku looked at the cookie, suddenly realizing what he held in his hand was more than egg, baking soda and sugar.
"Riku…I…" Sora hadn't figured out what to say at this point. He didn't think he would make it this far.
Suddenly, Riku knew. "Some things don't require words to be understood." He placed the cookie back in the box. His hands pulled Sora forward until their lips met.
The older of the two opened his mouth. He body told Sora everything he needed to know. The feel of Riku's hands pulling at the hem of his shirt, the touch of Riku's lips against his own.
Sora never thought he could feel perfection again, but he had. He had found perfection in the man that sat in front of him.
The two kissed. They held each other close. They didn't stop for anyone. They didn't care who knew because to them, this was heaven.
Sora could hear the faint sound of Riku's playing in the back of his mind, signaling another wonderful memory in the making. He smiled into the kiss and a tear fell from his eye. He wasn't sad, just too happy for his body to contain himself.
But in the end, it wasn't the music Sora needed. It was the musician.
This story goes out to, not only to Katraa, but to all of those that have been affected by cancer in any sort of way. It's a wicked disease that steals those that have done nothing.
Whenever I think my problems are too much to handle, I think about those with cancer or AIDs or any other deadly disease. They never asked for those problems, and most of the time never did anything to provoke the disease. Then, all of the sudden, my problems seem so small.
Fight for a cure.